UNITY — The Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad carried 65 riders from Unity to Burnham and back Saturday, Nov. 13, among them a dozen veterans, in a post-Veterans Day event honoring those who have served.

Waldo County Republicans organized the event, chartered and decorated the train, provided hot cider and doughnuts, and through a raffle raised enough money to donate 21 wreaths to Wreaths Across America for its December convoy to Arlington National Cemetery. Members of Jerry Dobbins American Post 157 in Sandy Point will present the donation.

Seated in the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad dining car are some of the 65 people who rode the “Freedom Express” train honoring veterans Nov. 13. Photo by Carolyn Zachary

Along the way, soprano Patty Keyes of Swanville led riders in singing a series of patriotic songs. Charlie Smith, a Civil War historian from Stockton Springs, told tales of Maine and Waldo County military men who distinguished themselves in battle during the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

The group honored Carmine Pecorelli for his 30 years of military service during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and his community service since. At 97, he is one of the few remaining U.S. veterans  to have served in all three wars. The group gave him a gift certificate to Delvino’s Grill and Pasta House in Belfast.

Charlie Smith of Stockton Springs describes the contributions of Maine and Waldo County soldiers in the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Photo by Carolyn Zachary

Among those making the trip were former Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walter and Nancy Whitcomb of Waldo, former Waldo GOP Chair JoAn Petersen of Swanville, who had long dreamed of chartering the train for a fundraising outing, and Republican state Rep. MaryAnne Kinney of Knox, who will run against state Sen. Chip Curry, D-Belfast, in 2022.

In addition to booking private charters such as this one, the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is about to start its seasonal Santa’s Express rides for kids, parents and Santa Claus, leaving from the station at 212 Depot St. For more information, visit belfastandmooseheadlakerail.org.